Sports Cards

Submitted by Eli on December 25th, 2018 at 9:31 PM

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. 

I got some packs of football cards today and it got me wondering if they are still even a thing and are any of them worth anything. Does anyone know much about this topic? As a kid I remember going to card shows and there were several little sports card stores, but these seem to be dead. I had a lot of cards that were worth quite a bit, but no idea if they still are. There was a magazine you could get to check worth. Are these still a thing? What’s accurate? It seems like in the digital world kids couldn’t care less about cards. I loved them and thought it was cool to get some today. Any insight, opinions and stories about sports cards would be appreciated. Have a beautiful night. 



December 25th, 2018 at 9:34 PM ^

A few years ago my son's cub scout group went to a collectibles store to learn about it.  I chatted with the owner abouty collection from 20 years ago and he said it was mostly worthless aside from a handful of cards.  

I think some of them now are decent because the market isn't as saturated as it was in the 90s, but you won't be retiring on it.  


December 25th, 2018 at 10:29 PM ^

Not sure about football, but I still peruse Beckett's Guide for my rare baseball cards. I probably should have offloaded many of them years ago, but alas, they are still in books in the basement and unfortunately not quite as valuable as they once were. Still, if I sold enough, I could finally get a start on renovating the kitchen, so there is that.

Gucci Mane

December 26th, 2018 at 1:08 AM ^

Beckett tells you the “book value” which is mostly irrelevant when selling cards. Generally they go for 10-30% of book. 

Modern day cards that hold value are numbered cards. Usually autographed and or a piece of a jersey. 

Numbered tells you how many of the cards we’re made, right on the card. They can be as low as 1/1. 

To find the value just look at eBay. The cards are worth exactly what people pay. And of course look at sold listings, not what people are asking. 


December 25th, 2018 at 9:34 PM ^

A few years ago my son's cub scout group went to a collectibles store to learn about it.  I chatted with the owner abouty collection from 20 years ago and he said it was mostly worthless aside from a handful of cards.  

I think some of them now are decent because the market isn't as saturated as it was in the 90s, but you won't be retiring on it.  


December 25th, 2018 at 9:42 PM ^

I’m not sure how much of a dollar value cards carry now days but here in West MI, our grandkids and their little buddies are fanatical about collecting football cards the last couple of months... it’s a bit of a craze. One of our grandkids got a 60 pack of cards from another and the kid on the receiving end was in 7th Heaven. 

A few years back we had a little sportscard shop here in town but it’s long gone now. Who knows... maybe the whole thing will catch on again. 


The Fan in Fargo

December 25th, 2018 at 11:20 PM ^

A lot of things can change in 30 years. Back then in the late 80's you could buy a pack of Upper Deck or Fleer for a buck and get a Griffey Jr rookie card worth a hundo. Maybe it wasn't that much but man were some of those cards worth a bunch. I remember a certain Donruss Nolan Ryan card that was worth like over a grand. That was a lot of money then too. Especially for a kid. I always believed those suckers would be worth something great someday. I still believe it. I might not see it though if it takes a half century. 

Edit: I just looked that Nolan Ryan card up. It was error card somehow. It's for sale on Ebay for $175. That's a steal. I'm tempted to buy that son of a bitch.


December 25th, 2018 at 9:44 PM ^

This past summer, I visited a card shop.  The owner offered me $2 per 1,000 cards, mostly 80s baseball and football.  

I kept them and continue to collect, but now I search for unique cards, or autographed cards PSA graded and slabbed.  

UM Fan from Sydney

December 25th, 2018 at 9:45 PM ^

I used to collect cards from many sports in the early- to mid-90s. Those are not worth much, if anything. The ones that are worth a lot to some people are from 40+ years ago. Card collecting became really popular for many people my age back then, so an abundance of cards was made, which is why they are not worth much (they’re not as rare). Now, decades from now, they might be worth something more, but I have my doubts. I have binders full of cards. I’ll hang on to them for a long time just in case they become more valuable. I didn’t know cards were still being made today.


December 26th, 2018 at 1:31 AM ^

About the mid-1980s, moms starting hearing about BB card values and quit taking their kids cards to the curb in paper bags at the end of the season.

I must have been 4-5 when my mom gathered the older brothers cards one morning in a paper bag and took them to the curb - probably a few nice Kalines, Clementes, Ryans, Aarons, Mays, etc. in that late 60s stash. 


December 25th, 2018 at 9:48 PM ^

Buying cards and hoping to get wealthy was almost literally equivalent to buying lottery tickets, except kids were allowed to buy them.

You had maybe a one in a few million chance of making any sort of money on it. 


December 27th, 2018 at 9:48 AM ^

Any idea which one the baseball card was?  I was pretty active in my younger years, Jordan was my main obsession and I don't remember any of his rookie baseball cards being that much.  Upper Deck made a short printed (non rookie) card in 91 or 92 that was inserted in baseball packs.  The card showed him taking batting practice with the White Sox.  This graded "Pristine" (prob only a couple in existence) may fetch you under $2K but usually sells for $2-$10 ungraded.  

If you have his 86-87 fleer basketball rookie, they normally go for a few thousand ungraded/low graded.  High graded get into the $3K-$K range, and Pristine/Gem mint could be close to $100K.  

I miss the hobby a ton, but its gotten so expensive and if you can't dump hundreds into it at a time you end up with useless cardboard.  

The Shredder

December 25th, 2018 at 10:09 PM ^

I used to collect in the 90s a lot. Which BTW was an awful era to collect cards in. Now I'm pretty select on what I get. You have to spend big bucks on high end box sets to get good stuff. You also need to have things "graded" by PSA or Beckett to help the value. I do send things off to them once in a while. I really like how they do look graded. My brother is into it more than I am and takes chances on some guys as rookies. He has a Lebron rookie that goes for 4k on ebay and he bought it for $300 years ago. 

931 S State

December 26th, 2018 at 9:31 AM ^

Professional grading services are the biggest distinction between modern value determination and the practice of having a card shop evaluate a card or collection. PSA maintains a database of all the cards they grade, so they know exactly how many 10 Mint (and all other grades) cards exist (or at least that have matriculated through their service). Mint cards are rare, not just because their condition was well maintained, but often because the production/QC created most of the cards in a run with non-optimal chracteristics. 

As a teenager I inherited part of a large vintage collection from a relative who passed away. I had them stored away for 25 years and cataloged most of the collection a few years ago. Simply put, sending cards to PSA is a humbling experience. Of the 30k+ cards in my collection, there we approximately 30 that I thought would be with grading. Some came back as 10 but they weren’t rare enough to have a substantial value. The most potentially valuable card in the collection was  a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson rookie. A 10 Mint sold for more than $30k a few years ago. Less than ten exist IIRC. The one I have would be considered flawless to the untrained eye. 4 perfectly sharp corners. Centered. Vibrant colors. It came back as an 8.5.

Despite the cards not having the value I had hoped for, the experience of cataloging and grading the cards was a lot of fun.


December 25th, 2018 at 10:22 PM ^

I have thousands of 1975 Topps mini baseball cards. That year they printed normal size cards and cards that are about 70% (?) of the normal size. The mini cards were only sold in a few states, Michigan being one. If my memory is correct, the George Brett and Robin Yount rookie cards are the most valuable.  There’s others like Nolan Ryan that also had a decent price. Years ago I sorted them and put the valuable cards into individual holders.  I believe they sold for five cents a pack back then, with a piece of bubble gum.  I also have a few gems like a Lew Alcindor rookie basketball card plus a couple others. They’re all packed away neatly in storage containers now lol. 

Goggles Paisano

December 26th, 2018 at 6:27 AM ^

I started collecting back in 1975 when I was 5 years old and was fanatic about it until the early 80's.  Topps were the only cards in town and they were 25 cents per pack.  The stale piece of bubble gum came in each pack because it was considered "food" and thus was not subject to sales tax.  Anytime I would get a quarter or a dollar, I was off to the little corner store to buy my packs.  I used get a lot of doubles, triples and more of Bruce Kimm.  He was Fidrych's personal catcher.  He could barely hit his weight so he always ended up in my spokes.  Couldn't tell you the last time I saw a kid riding his bike with cards in the spokes hanging on with clothes pins.  

 I also would buy complete sets thru the mail from a company in NY called Renata Galasso.  The set cost about $20-$25 and came in a cardboard box a hair wider than the cards themselves.  They would stay in there.  When I was in college, I sold all of my cards to a friend for $1,100.  I had quite a few of value then including a Ricky Henderson rookie that was worth about $400-$500 or so at the time.  It would be really cool to still have my cards even though they wouldn't worth much of anything today.  


December 26th, 2018 at 7:06 AM ^

I didn’t remember the exact price per pack, but apparently I spent a lot more quarters than I thought. When I sorted through the cards several years ago I organized them by number in storage boxes sized for the cards. I believe I have 5 or 6 complete sets ( #1 - #660) and thousands of other cards that aren’t complete sets. Fortunately, I have about a dozen Yount cards and almost as many Brett cards set aside. Hank Aaron cards as well. I shared the gum with my sister, and yes, it was nasty. 


December 27th, 2018 at 4:09 PM ^

I remember many a day looking out for the UPS truck and that shoe-box like package from Renata Galasso (I guess she advertised in Street and Smith's or something).

About once a week, I'd walk or bike over to the Blue Front in A2 and any quarter I had was converted to a pack of cards. I remember those minis. I had hundreds of those that survived whatever cleaning my mom would have done.

Sold all my cards about ten years ago, was surprised to get something out of it. I had thought about collecting at one point maybe 20-25 years ago, but everything I had except the Galasso boxes was a bit rough around the corners and I would have essentially started from scratch.


December 25th, 2018 at 10:27 PM ^

Maybe 10 years or so my brother took some of my best cards in to a collectible shop to see what they were worth. Guy offered like $20 for his and mine, my brother said go to hell. Now I basically see them as worthless in terms of money. However I learned a lot about money, trading, good deals as well as getting ripped off collecting them at a young age. I think it's good for kids to collect cards. I am going to save mine and give them to my grandkids some day (my son is 3) so maybe then they will be worth something.


December 25th, 2018 at 10:31 PM ^

Patrick Mahomes Autograph Panini cards (1 of 25, 99, etc) are going for $1200. The autograph stuff is crazy.

I picked up a couple Mo Hurst auto cards for fun.


December 25th, 2018 at 10:44 PM ^

Just my opinion, I have about 7 or 8 binders with numerous "good" cards.  Look up your cards on ebay to see if they are selling then watch the auctions of the other sellers.  The market seems to be over saturated.  I'm lucky to get $1.00 profit on each "good" card when selling.  Can't bring myself to just throw them away.  A little depressing but that's my 2 cents.


December 26th, 2018 at 1:27 AM ^

I can count my "worthless" cards by the pound in my basement. Lots of 1986-1992 Topps, Donruss, etc. Like you cant bear to toss them but also realize if we had a fireplace or fire pit, some of those cards of such Tigers "studs" as Doug Strange, etc. from the late 1980s would serve well as kindling. 

Luckily, I kept my childhood cards starting with 1975 minis and put a lot into buying cards back into the 50s and 60s that I'm OK with some of them. 

Blue Dispatch

December 25th, 2018 at 10:55 PM ^

The market was flooded back in the 90`s and since as the hobby exploded in popularity. Those cards aren't worth much of anything as they were way overproduced. Many pre 1970`s cards are still quite valuable, hall of gamers like Mantle, Kaline, DiMaggio.

Bottom line, they're only worth what you can get for them.



December 25th, 2018 at 11:02 PM ^

Side story, I traded a Willie Mays Autographed card to a shop after Tom Brady won super #2 for his autographed rookie card and got a Woodson Autograph also with it. I think I faired well in the long run. 

Boner Stabone

December 25th, 2018 at 11:28 PM ^

I have a bunch of baseball and football cards from the early to mid 80's.  Lots of Rookie cards, but I am not deep into collecting anymore.  After doing some inventory on them about 5 years ago and looking at prices on line, all the cards are worth about $1200.

Like earlier posters said, not worth a lot, but something I might hand down to my son.